Altered States

Getting a handle on all that electrical activity in your head isn't as mind-boggling as you might think. Psychologists reference four categories of brain waves, each defined by a different range of frequencies. Here's the breakdown, in hertz:

Apr 1, 2001
Outside Magazine

* Delta (0–4 Hz). You're basically unconscious—either sleeping or, God forbid, comatose.

* Theta (4–8 Hz). The semiconscious realm between sleeping and waking—you're dozing, but not fully asleep. During theta activity, you access stored images of peak performance (like dunking over your buddy during a pickup hoops game).

* Alpha (8–13 Hz). Your "idle" brain state. At the low end, you're daydreaming; at the high end, in a state of relaxed alertness. The optimum range for most conscious activity is between 8/9 Hz and 15/16Hz.

* Beta (13–21 Hz). Your state of greatest alertness. The lower end of the range corresponds to linear thinking and problem solving. At the high end of the range, however, you've really redlined your anxiety, and your body may tense up and become difficult to control.

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web

Not Now

Get tips. Get stories. Get fit.

Looking for the best in fitness? We got you covered.

Thank you!